Big Girl Decisions…..

I had to put on my big girl panties over the last couple days and make some tough decisions.  As most of you know, my entire summer has been formulated around the Great Illini 70.3 which will occur this Saturday, September 1st.  

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Things became much more difficult when I tore the tendon in my foot on June 2nd but we pushed forward in rehab with the only goal being that I complete the 70.3 on September 1st.  In order to make this happen, the plan was to run the first loop of the run portion (6.55 miles) and then run/walk the second loop at whatever pace I could manage.  No time goal, just a quest to finish.  This focus to finish, to not let anymore bibs die, to not add another DNF to the roster, to not give up and just go sit on the couch and gain weight has propelled me forward this summer when honestly, I was pretty empty and upset inside.  I remained positive overall but I was bummed out!

I also spent a lot of time on the trainer inside due to mechanical issues and not being able to run scheduling issues and that didn’t help my attitude mood!

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So week after week, I rode, swam, did rehab exercises and then at the beginning of this month we brought back the run.  The run, the glorious run, that is so freeing to the soul and puts a smile on my face even in the most trying times.  Things were good again.

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But not really.  Although the foot is “better” as in better than it was, it is a long way from normal.  Even further from being pain free.  So last Friday, during rehab/therapy, it was laid open like this,  “Well, you do what you want and I’ll fix whatever damage comes from it…… but this is probably not a good idea”.  Awesome. 

The bottom line is that I “could” finish the 70.3 on Saturday but why risk causing further damage?  Why chance making this rehab process even one day longer?  Or worse yet, re-tear the tendon which is in healing mode and have to start completely over.   Or rupture the stupid Plantar Fascia which screams at me daily.   There isn’t a reason in my opinion.  I have nothing to prove.  This process for me has always been about my health and gaining a higher level of fitness and it would be counter productive to move forward with the 70.3 on Saturday due to the fact that I am not properly trained or healed up for the 13.1 mile run.

I am, however, perfectly able to participate in the Olympic distance event (.94 mile swim, 24.9 mile bike & 6.2 mile run) without causing further damage.  I’m certainly not running fast at this point but I can cover the distance and that’s what I plan to do in order to get a FINISH and be proud of the fact that I didn’t just give up when it would have been the easy thing to do. 

I saw a TRI necklace on CafePress and it was titled TRIumph

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I really feel like this is what 2012 is to me, learning to TRIumph when the cards aren’t stacked in my favor.  Learning that being tough, or a BAMR, isn’t about pushing thru the pain but rather taking a minute to listen to the body and focus on myself so that I can heal and be better in the future.  So Great Illini, I’m still coming, just downgrade me to the Olympic distance, please!  I mean, if it’s good enough for the Olympians, it’s good enough for me!

I’m so happy to put a close on this season Saturday and start fresh again.  New strategies and goals are on the horizon.  It’s a new dawn, a new day……

** Happy TRIumphing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

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15 thoughts on “Big Girl Decisions…..

  1. Kudos to you!!! I strained my soleus just over a month ago and have been on the rehab road with you and you continue to inspire me to make SMART choices with the big picture in mind! I got the same line about ‘doing what you want’ though ill advised, so dropped down to the 5k instead of my planned half a couple of weeks ago. Definite bummer, but definitely the smarter way to go.

    I’m running a half this weekend (green light from the doc), but am going in with the mindset of it being a training/rehab run/walk instead of a “race.” Slowly but {happily} surely, I’m trying to get back on track & be good to go for my first full in six weeks!!!

    You are really earning that TRIumph necklace as far as I’m concerned!

    • Good luck this weekend and yes, definitely be smart. You won’t be ready to “race” anyhow so keep it as a training run so as not to be disappointed.

      You’re doing really great!

      • Thanks! One of my running buddies is helping me throw together a Cheshire Cat outfit (Disneyland Half), so I’m pretty sure the tail will get old after the first mile and will keep me far from race mode. :)

  2. I completely understand how you feel and your mindset right now, I do. You certainly don’t need me to remind you that you are making the smart decision … Forgive and move on. In your honor I’ll be sure to hand you an ice cold beer at the finish line (virtually of course).

  3. You are doing great! Remember it is about staying upright, moving forward and fighting the good fight. Thank you for being a role model for all of us in how to “pull up our big girl panties and deal” when injury strikes. May 9th when I broke my foot, you helped me refocus my training, grit my teeth thru umpteen miles on a stationary bike and countless hours aqua jogging back and forth in an indoor pool and I am now a better and stronger runner for it. YOU can do this, keep your eyes on the prize – a healthy, fit you who goes into the next phase pain free.

  4. Well, I will concur that TTF is a role model for all of us…both girl and guy. But I don’t necessarily agree that putting on the “girl panties” means biting-the-bullet and grinding through injury. Injury is a process of healing and finding a way and compromise in keeping active that promotes fitness yet allows the injury(s) to heal. But if I understand the in-depth meaning of the “panties” reference it means not to simply use the injury as an excuse and to do something and to find some way to make something positive from the original 70.3 race goal and at the same time find balance that doesn’t make the injury worse, and even better, help promotes or works with the healing process. It is an admirable goal, but not an easy one to achieve, unless you really stick to some reasonable objectives for this upcoming race.

    First, I doubt you can “rupture” that plantar and the worse thing you can do is aggravate it more. Let’s face it…PF will be a long, nagging injury that will take a year or more to work through. I am back to running and still contending with it, but it is low-grade and just always there. I work and focus hard on running gait and foot-strike and push-off that seems to alleviate it while running. But I still wake-up in the morning with it stiff and takes several minutes to get it loose and back to feeling normal. Ditto for the first mile of running…just takes me longer now to “warm-up” to whatever run-speed I am targeting. Just means I have to be more patient with my running.

    But, it is that tendon injury that concerns me and that is the one you really have to watch in this 70.3 quest. I think you have a pretty reasonable strategy to pursue the Olympic distance event. You are probably correct in your assessment that you are not ready to push the running in terms of distance, and that even trying to run-walk the 2nd loop, probably just not there yet in terms of re-healing that tendon to put the stress of half-marathon distance on it.

    On the other-hand the 10k Olympic run distance is probably reasonable to expect to complete without further injuring that tendon. You may aggravate it and retard its complete healing, but on the other hand, you might even promote its further recovery depending on the intensity that you run at. It is the intensity and the “load” you put on it as you run that will cause it to tear again. But if you put a “gentler” load on it and don’t over-run in terms of speed and don’t over-stride and run it way tailed-back at what I call and easy or better yet “recovery” pace, then you might actually come out of this event feeling better in terms of the injury. Recovery pace would be running it 2-3 min slower per mile than your “race” pace. Not sure what your 10k race pace or even half-marathon race pace is, but an 11:00 pace is not out of the question for you in this upcoming 10k run just to make sure you don’t re-tear that tendon, and keep the stress nominal on that plantar fascia. You can rip with the swim, but you still should seek balance with the biking in terms of speed and not sure of the terrain in terms of hills cause that can put strain on that tendon.

    One last comment…that therapy gal of yours that acquiesced and gave her ok for you to do this Tri – she can’t repair anything…even if you further damage the tissues that already are injured. All she can do is promote re-healing…so don’t do this event and come out of it with the injuries worse than they are now. You have to find the balance with that and cue in to how you feel and respond as you compete in this event, then simply adjust based on the nerual messages your legs and muscles from the injured areas send you. But…you have to be in tune to that in order to make the adjustments.

    Your therapist (Alexis) can’t fix or repair any damage – she does the work that promotes your body to help reheal. She’s definitely in tune with you and if she letting you go, has to be basing that decision on your need to just get out there and do something similar to what you have always done as runner and triathlete. That is, you just can’t sit on the couch and keep eating and putting on weight! Alexis will deal with the current condition when you return…maybe nothing worse than before you left, or maybe a little more worse than if you didn’t do it. She can tend to that and it just extends the timeline to get to fully re-healed…if there is ever such a thing to be totally pain free.

    My concept of therapy is that it helps promote and speed the rehealing process, then once you get there, probably keep up with it in some form as “maintenance” that helps keep the injured areas happy and getting better. Healing…then maintenance…..the latter a constant if you want to do distance running and/or the longer tri-events.

    Do the swim as hard as you like….ride the bike with whatever intensity feels comfortable with that tendon issue…then run the 10k slow….slow…easy…steady like a turtle and you should come home feeling fine….and happy that you finished and with the bling!

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